When you’re hot, you’re hot … and then you are not. Except if you’re living in Arizona where we just made history by hitting 110 degrees for 31 consecutive days, and the record isn’t stopping. We are headed for at least another month of skyrocketing temps and now sweaty monsoons.
Between flash fires and power outages we are now living in a state of emergency at all times. There is no “moving on.” We just have to get through it, and please no “deep breathing” suggested remedies. The air is too hot to hold in. My pool is now 95 degrees (a refreshing? hot tub), the roads are melting, and the iconic 150-year-old saguaro cactuses (a symbol of The US West) are dying.
You get the blistering drift. We are no longer laughing at baking cookies on our car dashboards. We are “not in Kansas anymore” … and I think Kansas is having its own scorching wave.
I can’t feel sorry for NYC’s or Nashville’s five-day heat waves. Not when our overnight lows are 91 degrees and though “cooling” storms come and go there is no real rain. Just dust and wind that tank the power for 12 hours. By the way, Las Vegas survives heat the best. They are a younger city equipped with backup generators and treated sidewalks to handle the roast.
Globally, it has been the hottest July. Phoenix beat all records, but honestly I am tired of seeing “Extreme Heat Warning” blinking on my iPhone’s weather app.
Now … Evacuation is on all our minds. Should the power go out (and I pray not the entire county or state), we must be prepared. The desert was never at risk this way. We aren’t New Orleans or Miami.
Evacuation has altered my diversion of shopping. No more malls for shoes, handbags and makeup. Now Ace Hardware and Home Depot have become my new hangouts. I needed “portable” everything; lanterns, flashlights, fans, and, most of all, technical chargers for our batteries and phone and pads.
Not to mention making sure I can actually lift my “automatic” garage door should the power go out. Soon we will need to consider generators — and that sounds depressing. I thought the desert buried all their fiber optic power lines. But we still have electrical towers and a huge number of lightning hits and wind-toppled trees.
Living on high heat “red alert” is different than the threat of COVID. In many ways it is more exhausting. Mother Nature is having her way with us this summer and now we have been seriously warned. This is more than a polite “heads up.” We are in a “trial by fire” as we all contemplate whether this is the way it will always be — if not hotter. If this rotisserie becomes the new normal, then real estate will tank.
And by the way, threats of evacuations put hotels in the spotlight. My city is a resort hotel Mecca, however the discussion of which property has the best backup generators is the real hot topic.
I learned that Hilton or Marriott corporate hotels or inns are the place to run to — not the five-star luxe lines. I already have the Marriott McDowell Mountain Inn’s front desk manager’s cell number on my speed dial. Don’t rely on an emergency call to any 1-800 reservation contact because they’re actually in India. You will never get through. “Front desks” don’t really exist via phone and text anymore.
It’s clear that the openings of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” were boosted big out here. Everyone needed an ice-cold multiplex to go to for five hours just to escape to a land of Barbie and bombs. It worked. Even though after you left the theaters you felt like you were back in some kind of nuked landscape.
I wish I could bring myself to go to the frozen movie theaters. But I am one of those “at home” streamer holdouts. So, I chose to go to my bed and closed caption remote. In fact, closed captions have now made my deafness more apparent. I wish I had closed captioning in real life instead of hearing aids.
I truly get the “Barbiefication” of the culture. Besides it wasn’t about the movie. It was all about Mattel and the studio’s incredible marketing for months. Meanwhile, I hate the Pepto Bismol hue and could never wear fuschia. Also, I was not a Barbie doll girl. I preferred Madame Alexander dolls or Steiff stuffed animals. So, I am not the market for the movie.
But last week I saw loads of 65-year-old women on the street dressed in neon pink maxi dresses and matching pink nails taking their granddaughters dressed in pink tutus and mauve hair ribbons somewhere. Everywhere there was talk of scoring Barbie matinee seats. Every performance was sold out.
Clearly “Barbie” became this summer’s Woodstock experience, minus the outdoor mud and searing heat. It gave a lot of people “in crisis” (from weather and leftover lockdown) a place to go and a real reason to get dressed. And then to discuss it all with those of us who don’t care.
I used to think the pink palette was co-opted by breast cancer awareness or gay pride. But now it is devoted to Barbie mania and finally it’s getting tough to take. Even Sotheby’s felt the need to join the pink parade with high-end auctions of Hermes classic bag in bubble gum and fuchsia and matching ruby earrings for a blushing $30,000 each. Apparently “pink” is the major “cultural hue.” For who exactly? Since when? (Other than Schiaparelli’s “shocking pink”).
But trust me, in less than a month the goodwill bins will be filled with Barbie Dreamhouses, Barbie headbands and pink feather boas. I remember seeing a lot of Trump protest pink “pussyhats” in dumpsters right after 2017; so much for “reclaiming pink from anti-female” history. A Barbie backlash is coming, and it has nothing to do with the Republicans attack on the movie’s “wokeness.” Our culture holds on to nothing sacred beyond a screenshot or an Instagram 10 second scroll. We are all about “on to the next.”
Even the “Barbie brand maker” Mattel’s CEO Richard Dixon is now headed to The Gap to see if he can bring some of that revival Barbie magic to that T-shirt-and-jeans-dying-brand. Too bad Dixon can’t retool our climate change.
Considering our two-second attention span, it’s great that Barbie and Oppenheimer upstaged the Hollywood striking scene. No one really cares as they have other platforms to look at like sports, rerun streaming services, and their own star turns on social media accounts.
The film world now lacks the old-time tough power brokers like Lew Wasserman to deliver a “Hollywood ending” to the strike. Governor Newsom is supposedly stepping into the discussion. Who knows if even he can settle Hollywood’s disarray and then go on to become President? Doesn’t he have to straighten up all of California first?
The one thing that has become clear and might be the greatest strike blessing: No More Red Carpets. We don’t need that hype of the latest looks and genders sashaying down any colored carpet to grab our interest. Fashion houses can now find another way besides signing starlets and rap stars to shill their brand. You don’t need Hollywood anymore. Social media has its own way of influencing — stylists and heavy-duty PR firms better start scrambling.
In fact, maybe too much media is not so great. Less seen and heard about the better. We get so sick of everybody so fast. Look at our political scene. As Wall Street columnist Joseph Epstein writes of the 24/7 coverage of Trump and Biden’s competition of depravity; “I think of one as the Manchurian Cantaloupe and the other as the sly old gaffer … we have no leaders that represent upstandingness and decency.”
Everyone and everything are sinking into the lesser of two evils, which is still evil!
And then we have the “aging out” issue. Is 82 too old to hold office? What with Mitch McConnell face-planting and brain freezing in front of Congress; Diane Feinstein and Joe Biden often confused as to what and where they are; even the perennial Mick Jagger (who just turned 80) was caught dancing at American Ballet Theatre’s June gala.
The video went viral of him looking like an old Don Knotts moving oddly like Trump doing his “grandpa dance” moves. Is 80 becoming the new 100?
Maybe we have to wait and see how 64-year-old Barbie actually does in her 80s. If our attention span even lasts that long. Mine won’t as I will be dealing with a dry heat becoming a dry heave.